What is a Luggage Scale?

B. Miller

A luggage scale is a convenient device used to measure the total weight of a piece of luggage. Because many airlines are now charging extra fees to customers when luggage is over the weight limit, many people choose to use a luggage scale in their home to avoid these fees, and save time at the airport. There are a number of different types of luggage scales available.

Travelers who buy an inexpensive luggage scale may be able to avoid extra baggage fees.
Travelers who buy an inexpensive luggage scale may be able to avoid extra baggage fees.

Luggage scales are available in digital or analog versions. A digital luggage scale will display the weight as a numerical readout, either in pounds or kilograms. An analog scale uses a spinning dial to display the weight of the luggage. Some analog scales are designed to lock the dial in place even after the weight of the luggage is removed, to make it easier to read. Either type of scale is very accurate, of course, and which one is purchased is primarily a matter of personal preference.

Increasing numbers of air passengers travel with carry-on bags, avoiding the airline's excess baggage fees.
Increasing numbers of air passengers travel with carry-on bags, avoiding the airline's excess baggage fees.

In addition to digital or analog versions, a luggage scale might have two different types of designs. The first is a more traditional type of scale, which will sit on the floor, and the piece of luggage can be placed on top of it. The weight will then be displayed.

Another type of luggage scale, however, features a small, portable scale with a handle atop a small hook or strap. The luggage is placed on the hook or in the strap, and the user then lifts the scale and the piece of luggage using the handle on the scale. The scale can then give a readout of the weight of the luggage. It also helps the user to determine if his or her luggage is to heavy or uncomfortable to lift. Most of these types of scales have a fairly large weight limit, and they are easy to take while traveling to be sure the luggage on the return trip does not weigh too much either.

A luggage scale is a fairly inexpensive and simple piece of equipment that can save even occasional travelers money in luggage fees. It may even be a good idea to purchase one scale for home use and one compact, portable scale to pack in the luggage and use while traveling. These scales are especially popular with business travelers or other frequent travelers who want to get through the airport quickly, without needing to pay any unnecessary fees that could easily have been avoided.

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Discussion Comments


If you are planning to buy a luggage scale, is there anything in particular you should be looking for? I am planning to buy one for my nephew for his birthday, but I'm not sure exactly what ones are the best or whether it really matters.

He just got a new job where he will be traveling semi-regularly, and I thought it might be nice to get him a portable luggage scale he could take with him on trips.

Of the ones I have looked at, it seems like I would prefer getting one of the digital kind, since it doesn't seem like there is a huge difference in price. The main difference I see is in the part that holds the bag and how you lift it. After reading the last comment, I want to make sure the bag won't fall off the hook. Is there a certain size of hook I should look for?

If anyone has ever used one of these, I would be interested to get your feedback.


I saw the article mentioned scales that will hold the point of the heaviest weight on the scale. I think these are really useful, but you have to keep in mind that you can't throw the suitcase onto the scale or it will make the reading shoot up, and the weight won't be accurate.

The same thing kind of goes for the handheld luggage scales where you hang the bag on the end. If your bag is heavy, it can be hard to keep everything steady, so it might be hard to get a perfect reading. If you are close to whatever the weight limit is, that could be the difference between paying a fee and not paying.

Finally, when you're weighing the luggage, make sure the bag is secured. I had a friend trying to use a luggage scale once, and the suitcase fell off the hook onto his toe and bruised it pretty bad


@matthewc23 - You can find luggage scales at a lot of online stores, obviously, but I have seen them for save at Target, as well.

I think in most cases it would be okay to just use a normal scale to weigh your bag. I think one of the best uses would be what the article said, though, that you usually bring back more things than you took with you, so it might be important to have a travel luggage scale to check your bag before getting surprised at the airport.

I don't know how often this would happen, but if you and someone else were traveling together, and you were bringing something for them, you might be able to use a travel scale to check the new weight of the bags.


I guess I could see the advantage to having a luggage scale if you traveled a lot. Usually if I travel and I am worried about how much I am taking with me, I will just hold the bag and stand on a bathroom scale. I am usually nowhere close to the limit, though.

I am sure there are some other uses for luggage scales that I haven't considered, though. Out of curiosity, where do you buy a luggage scale? I don't recall ever seeing them anywhere. That could just be because I've never looked for them.

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